Funny thing. Just yesterday I reported on how the USTA refused to pay for Taylor Townsend’s travel to tournaments until she lost weight and ‘got fit’ despite the fact she is the number one ranked junior player in the entire world. Her mother paid for her to get to the US Open out of her own pocket.
But it seems that the USTA has already backtracked. In fact, they did so before yesterday’s article went up. I had expected the controversy to last longer, clearly. I missed the backtrack, though, until late last night.
According to Patrick McEnroe, Weasel in Chief… er… general manager of the USTA player development program, the entire kerfuffle has just been a ‘misunderstanding’ and Sheila Townsend will be reimbursed for Taylor’s travel expenses. Apparently nobody said anything about Taylor’s weight. It was only her fitness that was questioned.
Sheila Townsend, however, remembers the conversation differently. Apparently her questions about what would constitute Taylor being fit enough to play were never answered:
…“If there are numbers to go by, then you can’t argue with numbers, I understand that. I never got any definitive answers.”
Also apparently, winning a Grand Slam in the Australian Open didn’t in any way constitute ‘fit enough.’
So what made the USTA change its mind and agree to let Taylor play? Well, they don’t come right out and say it, but I’m guessing the fact that Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport (the last American to win in both singles and doubles at the Australian Open in 1993, incidentally) both made angry public statements in the matter may have something to do with it.
Yeah, I wouldn’t want this woman gunning for me, either.